Roma v Man City: Champions League curse to continue for Pellegrini's men with tough game in Italy

Injuries and suspensions could go against City
Injuries and suspensions could go against City
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With a number of key players missing and a set of complicated permutations, Evan Bartlett believes Manchester City could be set to just miss out on the last 16 with this tough fixture away to Roma...

"With a 0-0 scoreline being in Roma’s favour they are, in true Italian style, likely to keep things tight at the back and, at odds of 2.26/5, under 2.5 goals looks a tempting option."

Roma v Manchester City
Wednesday, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports 5

Match Odds
Roma [2.52.], Man City 3.02/1, The Draw 3.613/5 

As Sergio Aguero limped off against Everton on Saturday there were probably a few tears in the eyes of Manchester City fans to replicate those in their centre forward's, so important has he been to them this season.

The Argentine has scored 19 goals in all competitions and, perhaps with the exception of Joe Hart, has looked like the only player capable of winning games for them - his hat-trick in the 3-2 victory over 10-man Bayern Munich in the last Champions League game being the perfect example.

His injury will be a huge blow to City as they head to Roma where, despite the immensely complicated permutations of the group as a whole, the English club know that a win should see them through to the last 16. The only way City could definitely go out is if they lose or CSKA pull off a huge shock and beat Bayern Munich away. A draw makes things slightly more complicated.

Read Betfair's full explanation of the permutations here

Roma have been slightly less consistent at the beginning of this season than they were last, but remain unbeaten at home in the league with Bayern Munich the only travelling team to win at the Stadio Olimpico. Although a 2-2 draw against Sassuolo was slightly disappointing this weekend, manager Rudy Garcia was able to rest key players Francesco Totti, Ashley Cole and Gervinho, and welcome back midfielder Kevin Strootman who has been out since March.

The fact that a draw might be enough for Roma does mean they could play in a cagey manner, which would probably suit City, but the fact that Roma have been able to rest players and that City will be without Aguero, and a suspended Yaya Toure while captain Vincent Kompany is an injury doubt, has me leaning towards Roma at 2.526/4.

However, it being such a crucial game, with so many possible permutations I will instead be opting for the more conservative Roma draw no bet option at 1.794/5

Over/Under 2.5 goals 

Man City have scored seven goals in the Champions League this season - Aguero having scored five of them, with Toure getting another. With both of those players missing on Wednesday night, City could really be struggling for goals. Edin Dzeko is expected to replace the Argentine up front, while Frank Lampard may well come into midfield but City just don't look as threatening without those two dynamic star players.

The Italians generally favour a 4-3-3 formation, with Totti as the focal point of their attack, and they are unlikely to blow City away in the same way that Bayern Munich might look to do in a similar situation. With a 0-0 scoreline being in Roma's favour they are, in true Italian style, likely to keep things tight at the back and, at odds of 2.26/5, under 2.5 goals looks a tempting option. 

First Goalscorer 

Francesco Totti has played over 560 games for Roma and scored 230 goals. The captain, talisman and one club man has played in so many key games for the Giallorossi that if there's one player on the pitch who will not be daunted by the pressure of Wednesday night it will be him.

In the return fixture in Manchester he scored a sublime equaliser to become the oldest player ever to score in the Champions League. He broke that record a month later against CSKA, and it would be no surprise to see him do it again here.

As the designated penalty taker and focal point of the attack, a small bet on him to open the scoring at anything around 7.06/1 seems worth a go. 

Recommended Bets
Back Roma Draw No Bet @ 1.794/5
Back under 2.5 goals @ 2.26/5
Back Francesco Totti as first goalscorer @ 7.06/1

You can follow Evan on Twitter @ev_bartlett

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